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SYNOD-LECTIO Oct-15-2008 (290 words) xxxi

Chilean bishop describes diocesan program of prayerful Bible reading

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Members of the world Synod of Bishops on the Bible, who repeatedly called for prayerful reading of the Scriptures, asked a Chilean bishop to describe in detail his diocese's Bible-reading program.

Auxiliary Bishop Santiago Silva Retamales of Valparaiso, Chile, spoke about his diocese's "Encounters With the Word" program. Addressing the synod Oct. 14, he said people must remember that "lectio divina," the monastic tradition of prayerful Scripture reading, is meant to be a dialogue; people hear God speaking to them through the word, and they respond with prayer and action.

First, he said, the room must be prepared with attention to creating an atmosphere of prayer and giving a special place to the Bible.

Then, hearts and minds must be prepared by inviting people to sit, relax and be calm.

When people are quiet, someone leads a prayer for the gift of the Holy Spirit, who inspired the sacred writings and continues to make them living words, he said.

Each person should look at the chosen Bible passage, the bishop said.

Then it should be read out loud, but followed by periods of silence.

Bishop Silva said each person should have his or her own copy of the text and a pen or pencil. As they follow the text, they should put a question mark next to or underline the things they do not understand. They should put an exclamation mark next to the words that call them to some sort of action and an asterisk next to the words that evoke things they want to pray about.

The people consider each category separately, then share their reflections with the group, he said.


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